The 2021 Call to the Inner Bar: Mark of integrity & continuing excellence

06 October 2021

Today, twenty-three members of The Bar of Ireland are being called to the Inner Bar at the Supreme Court.

As well as a significant moment in a barrister’s career, today’s proceedings are also one of the Chief Justice, Mr. Frank Clarke’s final official ceremonies before retirement and the first in-person event of The Bar of Ireland since 2019.

Today’s call to the ‘Inner Bar’ (Taking Silk) marks the transition from Junior Counsel to Senior Counsel for members recognised as possessing specialist skills and expertise in the practice of law and advocacy, both written and oral. In addition, Patents of Precedence are granted by the Chief Justice, conferring on those twenty-three barristers the status of Senior Counsel.

Maura McNally SC Chair of the Council of The Bar of Ireland, congratulated colleagues:

“The Call to the Inner Bar is a recognition of the advancement and achievement by my 23 colleagues of professional skills across a wide range of legal specialism. Their achievement today reinforces the role and contribution of Barristers to the social and economic fabric of the State.

Their skills in advocacy, and their experience and deep knowledge and understanding of the law, and of dispute resolution, represent valuable and unique qualities possessed by Barristers, and used for the benefit of clients and society in general.

This, read in conjunction with a culture of continuous professional development, drawing from both national, European and international sources and experiences, are all positive indicators for the rule of law and access to justice”.

Of the twenty-three members Taking Silk, five are female. The Bar continues to support and promote the Inner Bar as a viable career route and progression for female colleagues.

Maura McNally SC commented:

This is also an additionally historic occasion for my female colleagues Taking Silk today, especially in this Centenary year of the Call to the Bar  of the first female barristers in 1921.

The focus on female participation in law and the professions continues.

While almost 40% of all barristers are female, only some 17% of Senior Counsel are female. The reasons for this discrepancy are myriad, and we are continuing to put in place initiatives to address and close this gender gap.

More positive steps are, in my opinion, not only required, but required urgently.

Those Called to the Inner Bar, from the membership of The Bar of Ireland, are:

Ruth A. Fitz Gerald SCElizabeth Maguire SC
Brian McInerney SCAndrew Walker SC
James McGowan SCTom Flynn SC
Ray Boland SCPhilipp Rahn SC
Cathy Smith SCDermot Cahill SC
Ted Harding SCConor Bourke SC
Oisin Collins SCAillil O’Reilly SC
John Byrne SCWilliam Abrahamson SC
Tom O’Malley SCSuzanne Murray SC
Fintan Valentine SCRobert Fitzpatrick SC
Yvonne McNamara SCRonan Lupton SC
Carsten Zatschler SC